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INTERSTELLAR

Mal12345

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No thread on this movie yet?

Interstellar is a family-values sci-fi romp through space/time starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, directed by Nick Nolan.

The writers of this movie did their homework when it comes to Einsteinian physics. Not so much when it comes to black holes - or movie titles, since the movie should properly have been entitled:


The runtime is 2 hours and 40 minutes, so be prepared for a long show. Take some camping gear along with you.

The movie takes a long time to build up to any kind of space sequence. I believe that this was necessary to develop the human side of the plot-line, and that's okay. But I was beginning to wonder at first if this was a space movie at all, or if we had all been hoodwinked into buying tickets for a future movie with no outer space as the title would indicate.

Interstellar begins in a dystopian future in the good ole USA. We aren't told how civilization was brought down to this point, but I would have to say it was caused by global warming. The year is not revealed. It could be 2020, 2070, or 10,000 AD. But until I saw a fancy modern laptop in the movie, which made for a quietly dramatic contrast between the modernity of the laptop on the old wooden dinner table along with the stark, dusty reality surrounding it, I could have sworn it was taking place during the 1930s dust bowl era.

The sound quality in the theater I went to was terrible and the volume was too loud. So I'll probably have to head over to wikipedia to find out some of the motivations of the actors and the stated psychologies/philosophies they projected into their worlds.
 

Mal12345

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There's little on the Wikipedia Interstellar (film) page to learn from. The characters in Interstellar had very simple motivations for their behavior.

1. (Astronaut) I want to see my family again.
2. (Astronaut) I want to complete the mission (although there is a hidden motivation for wanting to do so).
3. (Daughter) I want to see my astronaut daddy again.
4. (Astronaut) I can't accept failure (apparently his family is less important to him, or he doesn't care about them as much as not failing).
5. (Professor) I want to save humanity.

But from these simple yet more-or-less pure motives there arises a lot of philosophical and psychological dialogue that could have found a nice home in a story based on a Shakespearean premise.
 

GarrotTheThief

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bored me intellectually. all the stuff in the movie was ish presented fifteen years ago.

but it was a good movie though.
 

Mal12345

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That's cool bro. I bet 10 bucks (figuratively) that you can't explain the plot to me, though. :p

I don't know about him, but I'll take on any "bet" that requires me to make an effort for nothing!
^^^ me as the monkey.
 

Totenkindly

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Just saw it.

My impression mirrors in some way the Salon review -- yes, I'm a Nolan fan, but I was left subtly disappointed in some ways with this movie even if I also came away with some decent experiences.

Since I like to do my bitching first:

- How can a guy make a three-hour movie that still seems sketchy in spots?

- The first hour (until they went into space, really) was kind of flat / flimsy to me. There were just a lot of questions where things got hurried along emotionally or plot-wise, like I was walking out on thin ice to believe fully what was happening.

- Some stuff in the endgame also seemed a little sketchy, especially


- As Mal noted, the sound sucked in the sense it was so damn loud (in terms of balance) that it covered up some of the dialogue -- I actually think I managed to pick up about 80% of it anyway, but it was pretty hard to discern in some key moments. The sound was loud enough that with my legs up on the metal rail watching this, I could feel the vibrations coursing through my body. I'm sure old people and babies were bleeding from their ears after a few of those sequences. I think a balance between realism and practicality would have been nice here.


Also, I figured out two major plotpoints almost as soon as they happened, but... i guess I also know Nolan enough to know how he thinks, so that helped me see what was coming:



However, a lot of the themes were a big deal to me personally. In IMAX, the images of Saturn and the various planets and the black hole itself were pretty amazing. And the themes of death, aging, loss; the thought of broken promises and abandonment; and the depths of loneliness that one can experience in isolation. There's an exhilaration of diving into the new and exploring, coupled with the sick sick feeling of watching your home drop and dwindle into a dot and then nothingness in a viewfinder and wondering if you'll ever see it again -- to be billions and billions of miles from home and utterly alone, like Mann notes later in the movie.

These very big, very resonant personal themes for me coupled with the great acting by much of the main cast to still leave me in tears in a few spots, even when I saw everything coming. Jessica Chastain as typical has a lot of grit and grace, and McConaughey's streak still isn't diminishing -- he nails this role pretty much spot-on... especially the scene where he's watching his kids' messages that have accumulated for some time. I don't know who gave him the wakeup call later in life, but whoever smacked him did a great job with it as he's actually invested and pulls it off. Caine and Lithgrow are solid, the young actor who plays his daughter in the first hour is really great, and Ellen Burstyn barely gets enough screen time but she makes a lot of what she has.

as a writer, I could also see the "skeleton" of the narrative from a writer's perspective -- the watch motif, which had both practical and emotional significance, etc. Some things worked, some things did not from my perspective, but I could see what they were trying to do.

Oh, and I guess I have Jenny's Scifi Movie Corollary No. 3.



In the end, I felt like Inception was 'too much head' in spots and had too many info dumps, although there was an emotional core that was very effective especially at the end. This movie was almost 'too much heart' and there wasn't quite as much cohesion and/or proper fleshing out of the base to support the logic of the rest of the movie.
 

Qlip

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I had mixed feelings, I may write about it later, but... 'Interstellar' is a perfectly accurate title. It is interstellar if it's intergalactic, but it's not necessarily intergalactic if it's interstellar. Intergalactic as a title sets a goofy tone for a movie.
 

Mal12345

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[MENTION=7]Jennifer[/MENTION]
 

Mal12345

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Of course these two hacks had to weigh in on Interstellar:

I didn't see anything in that review that others haven't thought of already. For example:


The comparisons with other "black hole" or "worm hole" movies are more interesting. That supposedly great movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" seems very one-dimensional. The main character, Bowman, has no character arc. He may have been "chosen" for some unknown reason to "ride the worm hole" and morph into a space fetus. But nothing in his character arc demonstrates that he has done anything to deserve the space fetus honor. I'm not saying "2001" was a shallow movie. But its philosophical and humanistic depth was won at the expense of failing to create an entertaining story with interesting (non-boring) characters and a plot that has a distinct beginning and a distinct ending.
 

Mole

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An American trope is The Frontier. And so Americans constantly fancy themselves as heros on the Frontier. And guess what! Space is the Final Frontier.

But the dirty little secret is that Space is so big and the speed of light is so slow, it is as though the stars and galaxies are set in concrete and forever out of our reach.

So at this point we pull the supernatural rabbit out of the hat in the form of a wormhole and a black hole. But they don't compute in the amount of energy needed and the amount of time dilation caused.

So we can fool some of the people some of the time, and we can fool all of the Americans all of the time with tales of the Frontier.

This is nothing more than the myth of the Wild West Frontier translated into the myth of the Final Frontier of Space.
 

21%

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Also, I figured out two major plotpoints almost as soon as they happened, but... i guess I also know Nolan enough to know how he thinks, so that helped me see what was coming:


 

Totenkindly

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Oh, how did everyone feel about Brandt's little speech about love in the middle, as the group is trying to come to a decision?

Interesting interviews with actors/director:
'Interstellar's' Christopher Nolan, Stars Gather to Reveal Secrets of the Year's Most Mysterious Film


Yeah, all good points. I think maybe some of those factored into my intuitive perceptions of where things were going.

Some of these motifs exist because they just are what they are (such as slingshooting to pick up speed... not much of a spoiler, it just is one arsenal in a toolkit, like using a handbrake to help with a tight turn I suppose).

 

Qlip

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I am a written Science Fiction fan, like it sounds like [MENTION=6971]21%[/MENTION] is, so I am highly attuned to the genre. I enjoyed the heck out of the movie, but it fell into the uncanny valley of SF for me. Nolan seem to me a speculative director at heart, except he builds movie plot and and theme constructs much the way Arthur C. Clark builds worlds. Nolan tried on the SF hat, he had so much research into the visuals and the superficial behavior of space-stuff, which was depicted beautifully, but it was just a hat.

The things that threw me off had a lot to do with the approach, what was focused on and emphasized. The idea of a wormhole existing and within it inhabitable worlds would be a world-shaker to a scientist, not for how amazing it looks or for what is within it, but what it implies, what it confirms. I don't feel like that was reflected in Cooper's reaction, or the way 'NASA' does their exposition.

He makes some jarring and annoying world-building mistakes things that make it difficult to maintaining a state of willing suspension of belief. Like the fact it takes a giant mult-stage rocket to get off the surface of Earth and transfer to an orbital space-craft, but it only takes a shuttle sized craft to land and take off from worlds with similar or heavier gravities, not only is this un-scientific, more importantly it's inconsistent.

There were a lot of instances of unnatural dialog just to hit people over the head with a hammer, like Cooper's nephew coughing and announcing the cause was 'dust', if that were a real life situation in that world, that would be the most sarcastic, smart-ass and tasteless thing to say. As if everyone didn't know that he was coughing because of 'dust', or wasn't deeply and unspokenly aware that it wasn't killing them all. The dust itself was just a plot device to get people off the Earth for the movie's sake. This is where that weird Nolanization on the genre happens, in SF people tend to be cardboard cutouts in order to explore new ideas and situations and implications of technology, the process of discovery tends to be open ended. Here everything is a cardboard cutout of a type to aim to a certain resolution, both in story and in theme, "Love is as an important force as anything quantifiable."

That makes Brandt's speech about love the centerpiece of the movie, and I believe it was intended to be. It was executed well by Hathaway, but I could not stay in the moment, no dedicated scientist would express their belief in that in that way to other scientists, it wasn't a speech aimed at the characters around her, it was aimed at the audience. All in all, the movie was a good ride, like a carnival-park ride, engineered and sold to the back-row seats.
 

Totenkindly

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A Point I Meant to Make Earlier:
Did anyone else feel like they were watching an M. Night Shyamalan film directed by Christopher Nolan?

---

More articles of interest:
‘Interstellar’: Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Film’s Science
‘Interstellar’ Ending & Space Travel Explained
5 Christopher Nolan Movie Criticisms That are Totally Valid

For the record (in that last article), I did actually feel terrible for Sarah in "The Prestige"... but I understand the criticism. She was still being used as a plot device to further the main conflict between the two magicians, and she only really came alive because Rebecca Hall was just so damn good.

I kinda felt this way in Nolan's remake of "Insomnia," which has a lot of pathos built into the story and could have been richer but just quite didn't go deep enough emotionally in some scenes.


;) Sorry. I missed it in there, I had some other stuff I planned to respond to.

I didn't mind it at all, I found it interesting to hear about "love" from a more "logically argued perspective" -- but at the end of it, I was still left with, "Dayum, girl, beautiful speech; but as an argument it still doesn't prove anything at all." I don't think the argument could have been better, she just didn't have a lot of grounding; it was purely speculatory.

Then again, I loved the Architect's speech at the end of Matrix Reloaded... some people hated it.
[MENTION=13589]Mal12345[/MENTION]:


---

Oh, and more oddities:
 

93JC

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;) Sorry. I missed it in there, I had some other stuff I planned to respond to.

I didn't mind it at all, I found it interesting to hear about "love" from a more "logically argued perspective" -- but at the end of it, I was still left with, "Dayum, girl, beautiful speech; but as an argument it still doesn't prove anything at all." I don't think the argument could have been better, she just didn't have a lot of grounding; it was purely speculatory.

I thought it was clichéd and trite. It was probably delivered as best at it could be but the speech itself was over-the-top and out of place. It was as though Nolan fashioned a hammer, wrote "LOVE CONQUERS ALL" on it, and then bashed my face in with it.

One of Interstellar's problem was that it had very little subtlety.
 

Totenkindly

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I thought it was clichéd and trite. It was probably delivered as best at it could be but the speech itself was over-the-top and out of place. It was as though Nolan fashioned a hammer, wrote "LOVE CONQUERS ALL" on it, and then bashed my face in with it.

One of Interstellar's problem was that it had very little subtlety.

...My heart still pines away for The Prestige and Memento.
 

Qlip

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My favorite parts of the movie were close-up action shots without any people in them. I especially enjoyed watching multiple iterations of space ship docking, smooth, frenetic, awkward. And tight shots of robots picking things up with their capable manipulators.
 

Totenkindly

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That spinning redock late in the movie was pretty badass, I gotta say.
(I'm surprised the non-pilot didn't pass out.)


----

Looks like sound issues were experienced across the board:
Interstellar Is Great But It May Have A Serious Sound Problem - CINEMABLEND
Poll = 62% say the sound muffled some of the dialogue, only 28% said it was fine. (10% hadn't seen the movie)


Oh, and we're back to this kind of shit again:
Why Interstellar's Ending Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means - CINEMABLEND
(... although I'll concur that Dr. Mann does say that, which triggers this line of thought. Otherwise it would be purely conjecture.)
EDIT: Here's an article about the prevelance of people enjoying ploying this kind of explanation for ANY show or movie (although for the record, "The Wizard of Oz" makes far more sense now):
The "Everyone’s Already Dead" theory: The simple mind-trick that makes every movie and TV show seem better.

Another scientist assesses what might happen in the movie:
https://www.yahoo.com/movies/interstellar-ending-explained-102298382597.html

James Hibbards' "15 Questions about the movie" [some are ones I also had]
(James writes pretty amusing reviews of GoT when it's on the air)
15 maddening 'Interstellar' plot holes | PopWatch | EW.com

Amusing plot description:
Let's talk about the plot of 'Interstellar' | PopWatch | EW.com
Best quote:


Phil Platt's Initial Complaints about the movie's "science":
http://www.slate.com/articles/healt...movie_s_black_holes_wormholes_relativity.html
His follow-up corrections of his initial article:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astr..._followup_movie_science_mistake_was_mine.html


http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat...ng_who_are_they_the_tesseract_the_blight.html
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/movies/2014/10/christopher_nolan_s_interstellar_reviewed.html
 
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